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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Blackout Hits London During Rush Hour

Aired August 28, 2003 - 19:04   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR: Overseas, thousands of people had to take to the streets during London's rush hour this evening as a major power failure shut down 60 percent of the city's subway system, forcing police to evacuate people from stopped trains.
The electric utility company that runs the grid says it does not yet know why the system failed.

CNN correspondent Liz George joins us live from London.

Liz, I understand some 250,000 people were actually stuck in subways when the power failed?

LIZ GEORGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's certainly the estimate that's being giving out by London Underground today, Anderson.

Effectively, four million people use London underground system during the commuter hours, during the rush hours, and he estimates that 250,000 people may well have been on those two trains when that power outage actually struck.

Of course, it was the height of the rush hour, as well, when it actually took place. And it took an awfully long time before those trains started moving again, before commuters were being brought off those trains, up out of the subway system.

Many of these stations were actually closed, so probably millions of people were actually stranded in central London with no way of getting home for an awfully long time.

It didn't help matters, the fact that it was raining, too, which meant that the busses were completely packed and the cabs were completely packed. So people in true Brit style headed for the pubs for a few extra pints. And we're just now really beginning to see the last few people emptying out of London streets -- Anderson.

COOPER: When the lights go out some people go drinking. Liz George, thanks very much.

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